Heavy morning dew weighed down everything growing in the meadow. As the sun cleared the treetops, light and evaporating moisture formed a shifting mist over grass, alfalfa, milkweed forest and wildflowers.
“For a naturalist,” writes Terry Tempest Williams in An Unspoken Hunger: Stories From the Field,
traveling into unfamiliar territory is like turning a kaleidoscope ninety degrees. Suddenly, the colors and pieces of glass find a fresh arrangement. The light shifts, and you enter a new landscape in search of the order you know to be there.
Without claiming the title of naturalist, I can say that this kaleidoscopic re-ordering occurs in my world almost daily, as, for instance, during the course of one day—clear, sunny, fresh and refreshing, on the cool side of comfortable—I slippped from my lush green world into Williams’s world of Western desert, into the Serengeti Plains and the Pelham Bay marsh she visited, and back again. I learn from her that I must read Edward Abbey, who wrote, “Paradise is the here and now, the actual, dogmatically real Earth on which we stand” and “For my own part, I am pleased enough with surfaces.” Oh, me, too! This world! No "better"!
In the evening, from a birthday dinner with friends high over Lake Michigan, I looked down on sailboats becalmed in the Manitou Passage after sunset and wondered if my brother-in-law might be out there. Sailors without wind are often sad fellows, but there are much worse places one could be.